February 23, 2013

Detective: Evidence mishandled in Kennebunk prostitution case

Mark Strong's lawyers say the hard drive is key to his defense.

By Scott Dolan sdolan@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Robert MacKenzie, Kennebunk police chief, answers questions asked by defense attorney Daniel Lilley during a hearing at York County Superior Court in Alfred on Friday, Feb. 22, 2013. MacKenzie revealed that there is a written record of a reprimand against Officer Audra Presby, the lead investigator the Kennebunk prostitution case. That document was not shared with the defense lawyers for Mark Strong Sr.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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Defendant Mark Strong Sr. listens to questions asked during a motion hearing at York County Superior Court in Alfred on Friday, February 22, 2013. At right is his co-counsel Tina Nadeau.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer

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PDF: Defendant's motion to dismiss for discovery violations

Lilley successfully argued that Burns was wrong, and that Presby did have a public written reprimand against her. He cited a news release issued last fall by the Kennebunk Police Department, and asked the judge to call the chief to the stand to test his claim.

Presby had an affair in 2010 with her supervising officer, Lt. Nicholas Higgins, in violation of the town's ordinance. Presby was reprimanded and Higgins faced termination but resigned, MacKenzie said.

In August of 2011, Presby was accused by Higgins's estranged wife, Melissa Higgins, of having sexual contact with the Higgins children.

Under questioning by Lilley, MacKenzie said he never asked Presby about the accusation and assigned another one of her supervisors, Lt. Daniel Jones, to investigate.

MacKenzie, Jones, and Nicholas and Melissa Higgins are scheduled to testify in the trial.

Mills ordered the attorneys to arrange for MacKenzie, Jones, Burns and Nicholas Higgins to be called to court Tuesday to continue the hearing to determine what personnel matters from the Kennebunk Police Department can be discussed in the trial.

Lilley argued that Strong's constitutional rights to a fair trial "trump" state law on confidentiality of personnel files.

The case has drawn international attention, in part because Wright is suspected of keeping a meticulous list of customers, including prominent figures. Sixty-six have been charged and 18 had been convicted by the end of last year.

Wright, 30, of Wells, is scheduled to stand trial in May on 106 counts, including promotion of prostitution, engaging in prostitution, violation of privacy, conspiracy, tax offenses and receiving welfare benefits when ineligible.

Testimony in Strong's trial will resume Monday, when prosecutors expect to call another state police detective and police computer analysts.

Scott Dolan can be contacted at 791-6304 or at:


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